After Whorl - Bran Reborn, the first of two follow-ons to The Beltane Choice will be published by Crooked Cat Publishing, just in time for your Christmas holiday read.
I hadn't set out to be a 'series' writer when The Beltane Choice was published in August 2012. I was so cock-a-whoop that Crooked Cat Publishing gave me a contract for it, since it was a story that was very dear to me, but I wasn't really thinking beyond that launch date. I've blogged before on the reasons for writing my Celtic/ Roman Britain romantic adventure, so I'm not repeating them here, but the idea of writing a follow on story was only a very vague notion at that time. In the back of my mind, I had thought of moving on to the next generation of Garrigill warriors and would maybe set a story around Bethan, eldest son of Lorcan and Nara - the son who was conceived on that fateful Beltane night in The Beltane Choice.
Seriously getting down to writing a sequel only came after a comment was made by one of my readers who asked; 'When will the next one be published? I can't wait!'.
I had no answer for her back then, about a year ago, but her question made me set aside the family saga I was writing and launch into what is now named 'After Whorl - Bran Reborn'.
Writing a sequel isn't something I'm familiar with but I sat down and began to plan Bethan's story. Incidents when he was a child would be the beginning, but the bulk of the action adventure needed him to be an adult warrior. That meant setting it around AD 85-AD 90. I was only a little into his story when I realised there was something not workable about the date. Too much had happened in northern Britannia between AD 71 and AD 90.
There would be too much history left out! Choices indeed.
Writing another story about Lorcan and Nara's trials and tribulations as envoys of the Brigantes, involved in negotiations with the Roman Empire during those years AD 71 - AD 84 was a possibility, but any romantic element wouldn't be 'fresh' romance. I wondered if I should invent a totally new character who arrived at Garrigill? Then I thought about the secondary characters that I'd enjoyed creating in The Beltane Choice. Was there someone who needed to have his/ her own story told?
My researches indicated that a lot had happened in northern Britannia before AD 85 which would be great fodder to write about. The expansion of some 80 Roman Forts and Fortresses in northern Brigantia, probably during the period that Quintus Petillius Cerialis and Sextus Julius Frontinus were Governors of Roman Britain, was alone worthy of a novel. Gnaeus Julius Agricola's return in AD 78 as Governor of Britannia, and his tenure right through to around AD 84 was also begging to be included.
|Bennachie - Aberdeenshire|
I just had to include something about Mons Graupius in any new follow-on novel.
Those thoughts led to me developing a whole new story about one of my lovely characters, Brennus, who didn't really get a chance to shine properly in The Beltane Choice. All the historical possibilities outlined above meant that one novel wasn't enough. Brennus' story needed two parts... or two distinctly separate novels, each a 'stand alone' story.
After Whorl- Bran Reborn, and the next one After Whorl- .... (the full title of this one yet to be confirmed) are two 'stand alone' stories about Brennus. I hope my readers who loved The Beltane Choice will love the stories of Brennus of Garrigill.
If you haven't yet read The Beltane Choice but have read about it, now might be a good time to give it a go.
I'd love you to join in the FaceBook launch for After Whorl- Bran Reborn - everyone is welcome. Just click on this link and join the party!
Keep a watch out for lots more blog posts about After Whorl - Bran Reborn before December the 16th 2013.